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motocross

A.J. Larson hits a turn at Maricopa Motorsports Park. Photo by Victor Moreno

By Fran Lyons

Motocross is back on track in Maricopa.

After months of delays caused by Pinal County stipulations, Maricopa Motorsports Park opened Feb. 3. The venue is 46 acres of land near the junction of state routes 347 and 84 in Hidden Valley.

Owner Mike Fay said one of the reasons he created Maricopa Motorsports Park is for people to participate together. “What I love to see is entire families enjoying recreational sports that promote satisfaction and enjoyment whenever they’re here at the park.”

The facility is south of SR 84 off Liebre Road, a dirt road maintained by the county.

Dirt bikers from left: Jacob Dolph, owner Mike Fay, Koan French and A. J. Larson. Photo by Victor Moreno

Fay, who seems to have been born to race, has worked in motorcycle shops all his adult life. He has been a rider since age 4 and a racer since 10.

“Riding and racing have been my passion since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s what I love to do.”

There are three tracks accommodating different levels of intensity. Fay, in tandem with other experts, created the concept for the park. He designed and built the tracks and oversees the day-to-day events and activities.

“What’s exclusive and unique is that we offer a track for side-by-sides, too,” Fay said.

Rules are important to MMP, however, and one’s vehicle has to meet required standards to participate. The first and foremost objective is safety and security for all participants and attendees.

Riders must sign a release and waiver of liability, and minors’ forms must be signed by parents or guardians and notarized.

“Our prepared and groomed tracks provide a controlled environment of structure and safety and a place for all who enjoy motorsports,” Fay said.

Jacob Dolph takes to the air. Photo by Victor Moreno

He estimates he lays down at least 10,000 gallons of water a day on the tracks and on Liebre Road. Pinal County had requested Fay pave Liebre Road to cut down on dust, but he worked county staff to a compromise. That requires him to spray down the road regularly.

Another point of contention has not found a final resolution. Pinal County stipulates Fay put in permanent toilets rather than portable toilets. MMP has no power, plumbing or other utilities. Fay was allowed to open and given an extension of time to solve the problem, which may mean building a latrine or outhouse structure.

Fay had planned to open the park in late 2015 while working through the permitting process. The waiting part of that process was frustrating, he said.

“There would be a three-month wait, and then they’d tell us to have our engineer tweak something,” he said. “And she would do that, and it would be another three months.”

Since quietly opening in February, the park has seen participant numbers grow, with many returning customers. As Maricopa Motorsports Park expands, offerings will include professional clinics and riding classes and food vendors.

According to Fay, what he has built is “great recreation and physical exercise for all ages, and definitely fun to watch.”

Francesca Lyons if a freelance writer living in Maricopa.


This story appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.

 

Maricopa Motorsports Park is being developed on Mike Fay's unincorporated property south of Maricopa. Submitted photo

By Raquel Hendrickson

Motocross is back – almost.

Mike Fay will open Maricopa Motorsports Park on 46 acres near the junction of state routes 347 and 84.

He purchased the Hidden Valley property last July and put in some light construction to shape up a track. His family and friends have given it a good tryout as Fay works through the Pinal County to open it to the public as a business.

He plans to open during the cooler days of autumn.

“We’ll have three tracks at different levels,” Fay says. “What’s unique is we’ll be offering a track for side-by-sides too.”

He expects to charge $25 per day. Competitions are not part of the plan yet.

“It will just be open practice,” Fay says.

He would like to host clinics with a retired professional racer.

Fay says motocross is “something for the thrill-seekers,” but is also a family-friendly activity.

Though its origins are in 1920s England, motocross has had a resurgent popularity in the 21st century. It is still classified as a dangerous, extreme sport.

In a monitored park setting, “it’s safe and controlled,” Fay says. “It’s much safer to have a controlled environment instead of going out in the desert on your own.”

Pinal County also sees it as a welcome addition to entertainment businesses.

“For those that like that kind of entertainment, there’s going to be a great opportunity,” Pinal County Supervisor Tony Smith says. “It’s a course that is professionally designed with a lot of good options for those who like to participate or be a spectator in those types of sports.”

Riding since he was 4 and racing since he was 10, Fay has worked in motorcycle shops most of his adult life. “So I guess you could say I’ve got over 35 years of riding experience because I’m just over 40 now,” he says.

He raced all over the country but mostly where he grew up in New England, where motocross is not quite as wildcat as it is in Arizona, “more structured and more professional, so I have a little different background than a lot of track owners.”

He says he brings a little different “flavor” to the style of racing than others in the area.

“We moved to Arizona for the year-round weather,” Fay says. It was a perfect fit until the former Firebird motocross facility shut down as the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park changed names and upgraded.

Maricopa Motorsports Park, he says, will again fill the void for passionate local riders. “And there are a lot of them around here.”

MaricopaMotorsports.com coming soon

MOTOCROSS TERMS
Bar Hop: Both feet over the handlebars above the bike
Can-Can: On foot over the opposite side of the bike
Coffin: Lying backward with both feet over the handlebars
Freestyle: Performing tricks over jumps
High Side: Tipping toward the outside of a turn
Mini: 80cc dirt bike
Modified: Bike with after-market parts
Nose: Landing front-wheel first
Peewee: 50cc dirt bike
Pinned: Bike at its max rpm
Stork: Both legs straight back above the seat